High-End Chains, Including Banana Republic, Are Closing Stores, Starting Jan. 18
The new year is bringing about more closures for beloved retailers.
Store closures have become a constant fixture across the U.S. since 2020, and even with an improving economic climate, they're not stopping anytime soon. Popular discount retailers like Marshalls and Big Lots have already confirmed that they will be closing certain locations in the new year, but it's not just budget-friendly chains that are paring down their retail footprint. High-end retailers, including Banana Republic, are also set to shutter stores soon. Read out to find out more about these upcoming closures.
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Banana Republic has a few closures planned.
Banana Republic will be closing a store in Chicago's Magnificent Mile shopping area after its lease expires, NBC 5 Chicago reported. In a statement to Best Life, a spokesperson for Banana Republic confirmed that the location would be the first of its upcoming closures, with the store closed as of Jan. 18 (and the last day of business one day prior).
First but certainly not only: The retailer is also set to shutter its store in Stamford, Connecticut, CT Insider reported. The store, which is located at the Stamford Town Center, will be closed permanently to customers on Jan. 25, according to the news outlet. Banana Republic employees said the location's last day of business will be the day prior, Jan. 24, and there are already signs in the store stating "everything must go" and "nothing held back."
And one more location is on the chopping block for January. The Banana Republic spokesperson told Best Life that a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Banana Republic, which is located at the The Shoppes at Susquehanna Marketplace, will also hold its final day of business on Jan. 24.
The retailer's parent company previously announced mass closure plans.
It's not exactly a surprise that Banana Republic's footprint is shrinking. Back in Oct. 2020, Gap Inc., which owns Banana Republic, announced plans to close roughly 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores across North America by the end of 2023.
"As we adapt to the current market conditions and meet the increase in online demand, we are looking thoughtfully at our real estate to support the best path forward," Gap says in a statement on its website, adding that the decision behind the mass closures was made "with the goal of having a smaller and healthier fleet of stores."
Around 100 Banana Republic stores have already been shuttered across the U.S. and Canada since the plan was initiated, according to Gap's website. The Banana Republic spokesperson confirmed to Best Life that the upcoming closures are "in support of these efforts" that were announced in 2020.
"We continue to thoughtfully analyze our real estate strategy to support the best path forward," the spokesperson said.
But Banana Republic is not the only high-end retail chain shuttering stores.
Popular home furnishings retailer Williams Sonoma is also planning new store closures in the new year. The high-end retailer is set to shutter at least two locations soon.
One of the closures will be the Williams Sonoma store at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, The Morning Call reported on Jan. 4. An exact closing date has not been announced, but an employee at the store told the local newspaper that it could occur as early as the end of this week, as most of the store's remaining stock has already been sold.
The other soon-to-be-closing Williams Sonoma store is located in Westfield, New Jersey, Patch reported on Jan. 5. Shelley Brindle, the mayor of Westfield, confirmed to the news outlet that the store located on Central Avenue will be shuttered for good.
"Unfortunately it's true. I've been told it has been an underperforming store and that the landlord was willing to renegotiate the rent to get them to stay but the decision had been made," she told Patch. As with the Whitehall Williams Sonoma, Brindle said she is not sure of the location's exact closing date.
Best Life reached out to Williams Sonoma for more information on the closures, but has not yet heard back.
Williams Sonoma also previously announced mass closure plans.
Like Banana Republic, Williams Sonoma previously announced plans for mass closures. Back in 2021, CFO Julie Whalen revealed to investors that the company is looking to close 25 percent of its retail fleet over the next five years, Seeking Alpha reported.
Williams Sonoma already closed a net of 33 stores in 2020, and by the end of 2026, the company is likely to shutter a total of 150 stores, according to the financial news outlet.
"Our ongoing efforts to optimize our retail fleet by either renegotiating rent or closing less profitable stores has enabled us to minimize our occupancy dollar growth and to deliver this occupancy leverage," Whalen said to investors.